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December 23, 2010

Christmas Traditions: Learning to Give

I am so grateful for parents who taught me the importance of giving to others.  We had several Christmas traditions that centered around giving.
My favorite Christmas tradition as a youth was our family's version of the 12 days of Christmas.  Each year, as a family, we picked several families or widows who we thought could use a little extra Christmas cheer.  We made or bought 12 simple gifts to deliver each of the last 12 nights leading up to Christmas. 

The exciting part of this tradition was that we delivered the gifts anonymously.  Each day my brothers and sisters and I planned the delivery to ensure we would not be seen or caught.  As a youth this was a challenging family activity that I looked forward to every year.  I now realize that through this simple act of giving, my parents were teaching me valuable lessons. 

They taught that it can be more exciting to give than to receive gifts.  I learned that gifts do not have to be large or expensive - A simple gift can show someone they are loved and remembered.  They taught us not to give with the expectation of praise or recognition but to give with the intention of helping or blessing the lives of others. 

As Daniel and I begin to create our own family holiday traditions, we hope to teach our children the importance of giving. 

What family traditions do you have that help bring the spirit of giving into your Christmas holiday?


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